Coalition Troops Are Reported Target in Deadly North Syria Blast

YPG fighters labelled'terrorists by Turkey have been the key US ally in the fight against the armed group ISIL

A bomb attack claimed by Islamic State killed two U.S. soldiers and two civilians working for the U.S. military in northern Syria on Wednesday, weeks after U.S. President Donald Trump said the group had been defeated there and that he would pull out all American forces. "We are still gathering information and will share additional details at a later time", the military said on Twitter.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that at least nine Syrian civilians were killed in the blast in addition to five individuals from the SDF accompanying forces.

A USA official who declined to be named said four American troops had been killed and three wounded in the blast on Wednesday, which an Islamic State-affiliated website said was the work of a suicide bomber. Trump initially announced in December that American servicemen and women would begin withdrawing immediately, against the advice of many of his national security advisers. "Now it's time for our troops to come back home".

It could also complicate what had already become a messy withdrawal plan, with the president's senior advisers disagreeing with the decision and then offering an evolving timetable for the removal of the approximately 2,000 US troops.

Since the Trump administration's decision to withdraw US troops from Syria, Syrian and Russian forces have once again gotten closer to the city, but have not entered.

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However, Turkey regards the Kurdish fighters as terrorists and many predict a Turkish incursion of the city following the removal.

As of August, defense intelligence estimated IS still had between 13,000 and 14,500 fighters in Syria, the majority of which were operating in areas not under the control of US partner forces. Commanders told him the United States had been successful in taking back other areas but that the job was not finished. Another video showed a helicopter flying over the area.

"Other choices are unacceptable as they infringe on the sovereignty of Syria and the sovereignty of our autonomous region", Khalil told AFP.

US officials told The Post that initial reports suggested four Americans may have died.

The Kurdish Hawar news agency, based in northern Syria, and the Observatory, which monitors the war through activists on the ground, reported U.S. troops were among the casualties. ISIS claimed credit for the suicide bombing that took their lives.

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Shortly after the attack, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the assault targeting the US-led coalition. Last week, White House National Security Adviser John Bolton went to Ankara seeking agreements on conditions for the US withdrawal and guarantees not to attack the SDF, but Erdogan refused to meet with him.

Russia's military police recently deployed to areas outside Manbij, where they are conducting patrols in a zone adjacent to rebel-held territory in Aleppo province.

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Turkey has repeatedly threatened to attack Kurdish forces in Manbij, stirring tensions with the American President, who has warned Ankara against such an offensive.

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